How to Hook a Millenial
Stories for millennials differ from other generations in that millennials prefer that their stories be more relatable than to be as dramatic as possible.
The best example of this principle is in the significant change in the narratives of prominent Disney movies over the past decades. In the earlier years of Disney’s film career, the studio focused on how to make their protagonists as pretty and sweet as possible and their antagonists as menacing and terrifying as possible. The clearest illustration of this is in the movie Sleeping Beauty, where most of the time is dedicated towards the villain, Maleficent. Maleficent is known as one of the great villains and had the most time dedicated towards her design, voice acting and dialogue. In comparison, Aurora herself comes off as very bland and sweet with her softer lines and lack of dialogue.
These days, the newer generations are looking to be more challenged by the situation and depth of character. This is best illustrated in the film Frozen, where there is no clear villain throughout the majority of the film. The main characters both have depth, dialogue and time devoted to their struggle. No one is the “bad guy”. Instead, the conflict is a product of an unfortunate situation.
This applies to a lot of recent films, where the traditional antagonist is either played down or missing entirely from a film. This line up includes: Brave, Brother Bear, Frozen and others. Even in films where there is a villain, the focus is much more on the main character, such as in The Princess and The Frog or Rapunzel.
This theory applies to millennials in storytelling. Instead of making things more dramatic or bigger, millennials want to be learn, and that includes in depth of character. Instead of emphasizing one emotion (fear, goodness etc.), millennials want to follow characters with more depth and humanity. This includes in advertising, where millennials will follow a story of someone we relate to and can see in multiple lights.
It is part of the reason why YouTube and vlogging have become such prominent platforms for advertising and for entertainment as well. Vlogging is such a growing segment of video entertainment because people want to see these vlog stars similar to characters in a movie. Viewers become invested in the lives of vloggers and their struggles, regardless of how mundane or simple they might be.